International body World Rugby ruled Oct. 9 that transgender women may not participate in elite and international women's rugby, Reuters reported.
In new guidelines, World Rugby said the naturally acquired physical benefits that trans women receive by going through male puberty and the safety concerns for other female players made trans women ineligible for competition.
However, it said trans men could compete in men's contact rugby.
U.S. trans rugby player Grace McKenzie said World Rugby had adopted a transphobic policy "lacking supporting evidence and rooted in poor science."
In a press statement, National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon said, "It is devastating to see World Rugby adopt such a cruel and blatantly discriminatory policy. This is pure bigotry. There is no justification for reversing the current inclusive policy, which has been in place for nearly two decades.
"Shockingly, World Rugby adopted this ban without considering input from member nations, as they had promised to do, and despite opposition by women's rugby players across the globe."